The naked man whom Punisher rescued is finally awake, though he has completely lost his memory. Punisher dresses and feeds the man, saying that he will look after him. The mystery man asks Castle if he knows anything about him – who he is, or what happened to him. The Punisher knows all of this, but claims to know nothing. Castle gives the man a bowl of stew, and tells him to eat it all up. The man asks what is in the stew, but Punisher refuses to reveal even that. Castle tells him to eat the stew, and that he will return with more in an hour. The man asks why there are so many guns. Punisher replies that there are dangerous men hunting for the man, and that it isn’t safe for him to leave Castle’s home. Punisher thinks that if everything goes to plan, the runt will save his ass.
Lucky’s Bar, outside:
Detective Soap is waiting for the bar to open, when three girl scouts approach him trying to sell cookies. Soap offers to buy one box, and the lead girl complains about Soap being cheap. Soap lectures the girl about her bad attitude, and the girl responds by kicking Soap in the crotch. The girls scream that Soap tried to touch them, and beat him up. As the girls run away, Soap feebly shrieks “NYPD!” Soap gets up, only to see Kevin, the jerk bartender standing over him. Kevin mocks Soap, saying that Soap getting beat up by little girls is the funniest thing he’s seen in ages.
Wolverine, Daredevil, and Spider-Man are talking on a rooftop about last night’s events. Wolverine complains that instead of talking to Castle, they should be out hunting him now. Daredevil brushes him off, and asks Spider-Man what happened last night. Spider-Man replies that there isn’t much to say. Castle endangered innocent lives, and once he put them in the line of fire, there wasn’t much they could do. Daredevil tells him that that wasn’t it at all. Daredevil tells Spider-Man that Castle didn’t put anyone in danger. All Castle did was start the fighting amongst the heroes, knowing full well that the heroes would never allow the civilians in the restaurant to come to harm. This is “the key to understanding Frank Castle.”
Wolverine doesn’t get it. Daredevil explains that Castle knew that the heroes would know to take down Logan before anyone got hurt. Wolverine claims that Daredevil’s knockout blow was nothing more than a lucky shot. Daredevil realizes that Castle has a code of ethics which he follows as strictly as they do their own. Spider-Man asks if he thinks that the heroes are innocents. Daredevil responds that “he thinks we’re downright naïve, but the end result is much the same. He doesn’t want to have to kill us. So how far are we willing to push our luck?
The Punisher goes for a little walk in Daredevil’s usual patrol, claiming to want to buy some time until his ‘secret weapon’ is ready. He is going to use his ‘old pal’ Tim McKinney to buy the time. Tim McKinney was hopped up on drugs one day four years ago when he threw his girlfriend and her mother off a building. He was sentenced to seven years for manslaughter, but was just released for good behaviour. Castle sticks a .45 in his ribs and takes him outside.
Lucky’s Bar, inside:
Kevin, the cocky Irish barkeep, offers some words of advice to Detective Soap. He asks Soap why he has spent 4 straight days drinking in the pub instead of going to work. Soap responds that everyone at the NYPD hates him. Kevin asks him why he thinks everyone loves him here, then. Still, says Kevin, it’s “entertainin’ watchin’ a fella go from useless to sad to pathetic like this… Let me know when yeh reach suicidal – that ought to be good for a laugh. Later.” Soap reaches across the bar and grabs Kevin’s head, snapping it back. “You want a laugh, Kevin?” Soap rips Kevin’s head off. Soap jumps on the bar, asking the head if it has any more wiseass comments to share. Everyone in the bar begins chanting Soap’s name. All of a sudden, Soap’s ex-wife runs in and begs to have him back. Soap replies, “Too late, beeyotch – I’ve already got my hands full with them!” Half a dozen gorgeous lingerie-clad women rush in, begging for him. The women begin moaning his name, as Soap screams “I rule!” over and over again.
Suddenly, Kevin’s voice calls out – “Do you want another drink?!” Soap slouches back into his chair, disappointed that it was all a daydream. “I can’t stand much more of this…”
Punisher ties up Tim McKinney to a post, and pulls a hunting knife. Punisher reasons that this is the kind of thing they call you crazy for – but he needs screams. Screams that are loud enough to wake the Devil. Punisher begins mutilating McKinney, as he howls in pain and fear.
New York Harbor:
Daredevil hears screaming. He tells the others that someone is screaming in the Kitchen. Wolverine can’t believe it – it is 50 blocks away. “What’s it gotta do with us? We’re s’posed ta be lookin fer Castle, checkin’ the bastards regular haunts! This ain’t the time fer missions o’ frikkin’ mercy!” Daredevil replies: “Wrong again.” Daredevil and Spider-Man rush towards the sounds, letting Wolverine follow on foot.
Punisher cleans up his knife, and tells himself that he has to get into position before all hell breaks loose. The three heroes arrive, finding McKinney’s corpse tied to a post. Daredevil says that the man is gutted, and that there is a note attached to his shirt. Wolverine picks it up, and reads it aloud: “Suckers.” Wolverine tries to understand, as the other two quickly jump off of the building for a reason: Castle is hiding nearby with a rocket launcher. Castle hits Logan in the stomach with a rocket, and Spider-Man rushes to the window where Punisher was hiding. Daredevil warns Spidey to stick together, but it is too late. Logan crumples, useless, as the rocket has vaporized everything below his chest, save for his adamantium skeleton. Logan cries for help, and Spider-Man replies that he’ll be right back. Punisher reveals that he has set a number of pressure pads in the room where Spider-Man is standing. Spidey puts his foot through the floor, and freezes. Castle enters the room, and turns on the light, revealing a room filled with high-powered explosives. Castle asks Spider-Man if he knows what they are, and Spidey understands. Punisher tells him that if he lifts his foot even a fraction, they’ll go off at once. Punisher reasons that Daredevil is the one who worries him the most – the least formidable, but the most dangerous. Punisher last beat Daredevil with an ultrasonic gun, and reasons that he can do it again, as soon as Daredevil shows himself. Before Castle can react, though, Murdock’s hand smashes through the wall and breaks Castle’s wrist. Daredevil calls him a “bastard,” and proceeds to lay a severe beating on him.
After finally throwing Castle to the ground, Daredevil demands that he get up. Castle thinks to himself that this was not one of his better ideas…